Citation from State Assembly and Bell-ringing Bring Closure to 2014-15 School Year
Just before dismissal on the last day of school, Swallow students and staff celebrated the 2014-15 school year by receiving a Citation from the State Assembly and having retiring staff ring the district's bell to signify the end of the school year. State Representative Chris Kapenga presented a citation for 170 years of excellence as a school community and in recognition of the district's designation by the Wisconsin Department of Instruction as a High Achieving High Progress School based on overall school performance measures. Immediately following this presentation, the tradition of having retiring staff ring the district's bell took place to bring closure to the school year. Enjoy these special events here!
School Board Approves Recommendations as Result of Curriculum and Programmatic Review
Over the past two months, the school board has approved both the continuation of the Spanish program in all grades K-8, as well as the program's vision, mission, goals, and an implementation timeline for revisions to an evidence-based instructional delivery model. Additionally, the board approved the leveling of Spanish in grades 5-8 to allow programming to better meet the needs of students new to Swallow so that they can be more appropriately placed based on their prior experience in learning Spanish.
During the 2014-15 school year the Spanish Curriculum and Programming was reviewed by school staff with the support of regional and national experts in the field of world language instruction. Based on student performance data, feedback from student, parent, and staff focus groups, site visits to other local school districts, and research on best practices in world language instruction, approved recommendations included the continuation of the program at all grade levels, the leveling to accommodate those new to Swallow, and a re-commitment to the FLES model of instructional delivery which is rooted in thematic units based on grade level core content curriculum and considered best practice in the field. To guide and support this work, the department also created vision and mission statements as well as goals and an implementation timeline to help communicate these changes to students, other staff, parents, and the school board.
Professional development and final re-design of the curriculum and learning targets to align to the leveling concept and FLES model will continue throughout the summer months. More information will be shared at the beginning of the 2015-16 school year at both the district and classroom levels so that all stakeholders know what the Spanish program at Swallow will look like and how it will prepare students moving forward.
School Board Approves Changes to Reading/Language Arts Program Based on Review Process
During the 2014-15 school year the Reading and Language Arts Curriculum and Programming was reviewed by school staff with the support of a local expert in the field. Based on student performance data, feedback from student, parent, and staff focus groups, site visits to other local school districts, and research on best practices in the five areas of the district’s literacy programming (reading, writing/grammar, typing, handwriting, and spelling/vocabulary development), recommendations in each of these five areas were brought to the school board for consideration in April. In May, the board approved the following recommendations and associated implementation timeline.
Professional development around these shifts in programming and practice began in May. More information will be shared at the beginning of the 2015-16 school year at both the district level and classroom level so that you know what to expect in this important curricular area moving forward.
SOAR Program Exceeding Implementation Expectations
The 2014-15 school year marked the full implementation of the SOAR program, a 30 minute block of time within the school day designated for intervention and extension work for students by grade level. Decisions about work for students during this time are based on data and teacher recommendation, with input from students based on their learning goals and progress towards proficiency on learning targets.
End of the year student performance data shows that students in need of interventions have significantly decreased. Through the utilization of a comprehensive Response To Intervention (RTI) model within SOAR, students requiring intervention decreased by 88%. In the area of mathematics, 90% of students in grades 3-8 were assessed at the advanced and proficient levels at the end of the year and in the area of reading 94% of students in grades 3-8 were assessed at advanced and proficient levels. The SOAR/RTI process also had a direct benefit for 8th grade students who are matriculating to high school in the fall as their scores on the ACT Aspire assessment indicated the following percentage of students were college and career ready in each subject area: 92% in English, 94% in Math, 86% in Science, and 82% in Reading.
Through the Curriculum and Review process during the 2014-15 school year, it was determined that an area of future focus is in the development of even more extension curriculum which students can access during SOAR time. School staff will be working on this over the summer months in preparation for next year while also considering additional ways to increase existing student self-directed goal-setting strategies, enhance parent communication, and restructure the Targeted Study period in middle school.
Swallow Eighth Graders Visit Washington, D.C.
Students of Swallow's eighth grade class along with parents and staff will visit Washington, D.C. in the coming week. Visit the group's blog to learn more and see pictures from their activities throughout the trip: https://swallowschool.wordpress.com/
New Engineering Programming and Discovery Spaces Coming to Swallow for the 2015-16 School Year
Swallow School is pleased to announce that at the April School Board meeting, expenditures up to $65,000 to renovate existing spaces to create a Discovery Lab and adjacent Discovery Center were approved. This marks the first of three phases of implementation of new programming and transformation of space as staff seek to provide more programming in science and engineering courses while creating more hands-on flexible learning spaces that provide students across all grade levels and subject areas a chance to problem-solve, collaborate, discover, create, and learn in new ways. The district is seeking community support and sponsorships to help implement phases II and III of these plans, and an official kick-off towards this effort happened at the Swallow Education Foundation’s Casino Night April 25, 2015. (Read More)
Dentz Appointed to School Board
Aaron Dentz was appointed to the Swallow School Board to fill the seat available due to the resignation of board member Andy Anderson earlier in the month. Mr. Dentz will assume duties as a board member effective today along with newly elected board members John Stahl and Susie Polentini. Read more about the new Board Members here.
Board Approves Secure Front Entry Project for Summer 2015
After consulting with safety experts and hearing from community members about support for a secure front entry sequence over the past year and a half, the school board made the decision at its April meeting to approve expenditures up to $110,000 towards this project. The construction is slated to begin immediately after school gets out in June and conclude by early August, with an alternate front entry during construction on the north side of the building.
The design of this space includes maintaining an open and welcoming gathering space inside the main front doors that parents and visitors to the school can easily access during the school day. It will also allow office staff to have a clear view of the front doors and grant access as needed for visitors through a new locked set of doors at the end of the main entry lobby area before the multipurpose room. Current plans call for the new doors into the main part of the school building to remain unlocked before and after the school day.
For more information about this project, please contact Melissa Thompson, Superintendent, at email@example.com.
Exciting Curriculum and Facilities News--We Look Forward to Sharing More at Casino Night!
Swallow School is pleased to announce that at the April School Board meeting, expenditures up to $65,000 to renovate existing spaces to create a Discovery Lab and adjacent Discovery Center were approved. This marks the first of three phases of implementation of new programming and transformation of space as staff seek to provide more programming in science and engineering courses while creating more hands-on flexible learning spaces that provide students across all grade levels and subject areas a chance to problem-solve, collaborate, discover, create, and learn in new ways. We are seeking community support and sponsorships to help implement phases II and III of these plans, with an official kick-off at Casino Night this weekend.
Watch this short introductory video to learn more about why these changes are needed and the vision for the programming and spaces in the future.
How can you help?
· Join us this Saturday, April 25 at SEF's Casino Night at 7pm--there is still time to register-- and bid on the many priceless items donated by Swallow staff!
· We realize everyone may not be available to join us at this event--other opportunities to provide support include:
o Purchase prize raffle tickets for an iPad, a Chromebook with a Ripstick, or an Xbox
o Purchase 50/50 raffle ticket
o Make a tax deductible donation to the SEF
This is not a gamble--everybody’s a winner! The renovations, furnishings, and additional programming are in line with other plans that move the district forward towards larger goals to provide the most up to date and relevant curriculum and programming for the benefit of our students and to provide modernized spaces that support this programming. Care is being taken to ensure that the furniture is adjustable to meet the needs of all ages of students, of high quality to ensure years of usage, and curricular materials being purchased can be used across not just the three engineering courses which will be offered next year, but in other offerings we plan to develop in the future.
Thanks in advance for your support of these exciting new learning opportunities and spaces for our students!
Stahl and Polentini Elected to School Board
John Stahl and Susan (Susie) Polentini were elected to the Swallow School Board in the spring election held on Tuesday, April 7. Both will be sworn into office after the Regular April Board meeting. Current Board President Karen Trimble and Board Treasurer John Quast did not seek re-election. Read more about the new Board Members.
Swallow School Board Announces Board Vacancy
Due to the resignation of School Board member Andy Anderson, the Swallow School District seeks to appoint an interim member to the Board of Education. A successful candidate must be an eligible elector of the Swallow School District. Interested parties need to submit a letter to the school board indicating the qualifications he/she brings to the position and the reason for his/her interest in receiving the appointment. Experience has demonstrated the following characteristics be important:
- A willingness to attend seminars and workshops to develop their skills and knowledge base related to K-12 public education in the state of Wisconsin and specifically the Swallow School District.
- The ability to act with other school board members to advance the best interests of the school district.
- The willingness to invest the hours that will be necessary to faithfully discharge their duties.
Letters declaring interest in being appointed to the Swallow School Board must be received by 4pm on Wednesday, April 15, 2015 at the Swallow School District Office, Attention: School Board, W299 N5614 County Road E, Hartland, WI 53029.
Three Candidates Running for School Board Election
Swallow School District residents Aaron Wingrove Dentz, Susie Polentini, and John Stahl will be on this Spring's ballot for School Board. The candidates are seeking to fill the spaces of Karen Trimble and John Quast, whose terms are ending in April. Read more about each of our three 2015 School Board candidates on our Election page. School Board Elections will be held on Tuesday, April 7th, 2015 at your designated polling place.
Swallow Student Named Wisconsin National Geographic State Bee Semifinalist by National Geographic Society
Swallow eighth grader Will Paulson has been notified by the National Geographic Society that he is one of the semifinalists eligible to compete in the 2015 Wisconsin National Geographic State Bee, sponsored by Google and Plum Creek. The contest will be held at the American Family Insurance National Headquarters, 6000 American Parkway in Madison on Friday, March 27, 2015. Will has advanced for the third year as the Swallow School Bee Champion by winning the classroom level bee as well as the school wide bee.
This is the second level of the National Geographic Bee competition, which is now in its 27th year. School Bees were held in schools with fourth- through eighth-grade students throughout the state to determine each school champion. School champions then took a qualifying test, which they submitted to the National Geographic Society. The National Geographic Society has invited up to 100 of the top-scoring students in each of the 50 states, District of Columbia, Department of Defense Dependents Schools and U.S. territories to compete in the state Bees.
Each state champion will receive $100, the “National Geographic Atlas of the World, 10th Edition,” a medal, and a trip to Washington, D.C., to represent their state in the National Geographic Bee Championship to be held at National Geographic Society headquarters, May 11-13, 2015.
Three Announce Candidacy for Open Swallow School Board Seats
Aaron Dentz, Susan (Susie) Polentini, and John Stahl have filed appropriate paperwork to announce their candidacy for the two available seats on the Swallow Board of Education. Current Board President Karen Trimble and Board Treasurer John Quast are not seeking re-election. Look for candidate biographies and information to be posted to the website and included in the district newsletter in March. The election will be held on Tuesday, April 7, 2015.
School Board Declares Space Available for Open Enrollment Seats
At the January School Board meeting, the Swallow School Board of Education declared space available for open enrollment seats for the 2015-16 school year. If the number of students applying for open enrollment at a given grade level exceeds the number of open seats, the district will establish a waiting list for students who may gain admission if those approved during the selection process do not accept their open enrollment slot or if additional space becomes available over the summer months. For more information about open enrolling to Swallow School, please see the Prospective Families section of the website. We look forward to your application!
Swallow School Welcomes Business Community
In partnership with the Hartland Chamber of Commerce, Swallow School welcomed members of the local business community for the chamber’s December Bring Your Own Cards (BYOC) Event. Members of local businesses were provided with refreshments and an overview of the district’s 170 year history, then taken on tours by student ambassadors. At various stops along the tour, attendees got to learn first-hand from students about various programs available at the school. Some of the stops included a demonstration of the 6th-8th grade Robotics course and club offerings and a chance to learn more about the district’s unique 30 minute intervention and extension block called SOAR time. The tour also stopped in the Hawk’s Nest, a combination of three rooms in the school converted to support all students during SOAR time, in addition to their regular grade level classrooms, which was funded through an Innovation Grant from the School Board and Swallow Education Foundation. Another noteworthy stop on the tour included the 1890s room, which is the original one room schoolhouse from which the rest of the building has grown to meet the needs of the increased student population.
In response to the commentary of several attendees who remarked about the poise of the student ambassadors and quality of the demonstrations on the tour, Superintendent Melissa Thompson agreed that the event was a success stating that, “Any time we have the chance to have our students showcase their great work learning and growing, while celebrating with the community our longstanding tradition of success, it is a great day.”
Principal Kyle Moore Takes Pie in the Face for Charity
In collaboration with the Swallow Education Foundation’s Market Day sales team, Principal Moore agreed to take a ‘pie in the face’ at the hands of the class who purchased the most pies for charity. Congratulations to Mrs. Ryczek's 2nd grade class who donated the most pies for this great cause and helped the school to provide 85 pies to the Hartland Food Pantry. Great work Swallow community!
Two Open Seats for Swallow School Board
Current School Board President Karen Trimble and Treasurer John Quast have both declared non-candidacy for the upcoming election for School Board in April 2015. Both President Trimble and Treasurer Quast have served two terms each on the Swallow School Board.
Any resident interested in running for these two open seats on the Swallow School Board is encouraged to contact the district office to receive paperwork required to declare candidacy for the election. Each seat is for a three year term and the election will be held on April 7, 2015. The deadline to declare candidacy is at 5pm on Tuesday, January 6, 2015.
For more information, please contact Kim Zabel at 262-367-2000 x124 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or visit the district’s website at: http://www.swallowschool.org/schoolboardelections.cfm.
Thankful for 170 Years!
The Swallow School District is thankful to have been a part of the community for 170 years! To finalize the commemoration of this significant accomplishment, we are asking for alumni of our great district to contact the school to be interviewed about what the school was like when they attended.
Currently we have participants from the 1950s, 1980s, 1990s, and present day. We are looking for anyone who attended before 1950, during the 1960s and 70s, and during the early part of the 2000s. If you or someone you know might be able to help with this short video interview process, please have them contact Melissa Thompson at 262-367-2000 x108 or Thompson@swallowschool.org
Join Us for the Holiday Concert Series and Breakfast with Santa
Looking for a great way to spend a wintery evening or a chance to meet with Santa? Consider attending one of Swallow’s upcoming concerts to hear great performances by our students or Breakfast with Santa (pre-registration requested-click here for form). Dates and times are as follows:
- December 4 at 6:30pm: 3rd and 4th Grade Concert
- December 9 at 6pm: Kindergarten Concert
December 11 at 6:30pm: 1st and 2nd Grade Concert
December 13 from 8:30-11am: Breakfast with Santa
Community Invited to Veterans Day Event at Swallow School
The Swallow School fifth grade students will proudly present Symbols of America on Tuesday, November 11 at 1:30pm. All members of the community are invited to attend and pay tribute to America’s heroes.
The program will honor and recognize members of the United States military forces as well as everyday citizens for the sacrifices, skills, and heroic efforts used to serve our country. Fifth graders learn about the early history of the United States and the significance of the symbols that are seen daily including the American flag, Bald Eagle and the Great Seal. Additionally, they learn patriotic songs that underscore American values. Come and see this learning applied in their production Tuesday.
For more information about this event, please contact Superintendent Melissa Thompson at Thompson@swallowschool.org.
Capitol ceremony celebrates 2014-15 Wisconsin Title I Schools of Recognition
State Superintendent Tony Evers offered congratulations to Swallow School for being among 173 schools in the state that received Wisconsin Title I School of Recognition honors for the 2014-15 school year. “These schools are examples of the success we need in all of our schools to close the achievement gap,” Evers said.
The schools were recognized during a special Oct. 13 ceremony at the State Capitol in Madison hosted by Deputy State Superintendent Mike Thompson. Pictured with Thompson, from left: Melissa Thompson, Superintendent and Kyle Moore, Principal. During the program, special recognition went to seven High-Achieving schools and 29 High-Progress Schools. Eight schools, including Swallow School, earned both High-Achieving and High-Progress honors. Three schools earned the award for a 10th consecutive year, while 10 schools earned the award for a fifth consecutive year.
“This award signifies the tremendous commitment to learning and growing on the part of our entire school community from staff to parents to each student here at Swallow. It is an honor to receive formal recognition for this accomplishment,” said Superintendent Melissa Thompson.
Referendum Update from the Swallow School Board
Over the last several months, the school board has discussed how a successful referendum to meet district maintenance and educational programming needs, relies on the strong participation of community members, far beyond just board members.
In developing the charge of a Facility Studies Committee, the board determined that if a sufficiently large number of volunteers did not step forward to be a part of the committee it would be an indication of community interest in pursuing a referendum to address the school’s facility needs. This fall only nine community members stepped forward to participate. As a result, the board determined earlier this month that the committee should not proceed and that the referendum effort should be tabled for now.
While the district’s facilities look to be in good order at first blush, there are maintenance and security issues and space/design constraints which limit educational offerings that are expected in schools of our caliber and are best for Swallow students.
The school district’s fund balance and annual budget can only meet a fraction of the costs for the district’s most urgent needs in the near term which include becoming an accessible facility, having learning spaces to meet current student educational needs, having a more secure school building, and repairing the leaking foundation under the 1890s section of the building. These highlight only a sampling of the needs which must be addressed and taken together, cannot be funded without the passage of a referendum.
In the coming weeks the board will be discussing the short and long term capital needs of the district and determining how to best proceed, while potentially looking at ways to complete smaller projects tied to student and staff health and safety, as temporary measures until there is greater support for a referendum.
The school board remains committed to ensuring the needs of our students are properly met. Therefore, we look forward to a time when efforts to evaluate broader physical and learning environment needs can resume with strong community participation. We welcome your calls and emails to discuss this with you further in the coming weeks.
Karen Trimble, School Board President email@example.com
John Fuhs, School Board Vice-President firstname.lastname@example.org
Rebecca Morrison, School Board Clerk email@example.com
John Quast, School Board Treasurer firstname.lastname@example.org
Andy Anderson, School Board Member email@example.com
School Board Announces Creation of Facility Studies Committee
The Swallow School Board has announced the convening of a Facility Studies Committee, to be comprised of residents and staff, to review the district’s needs, consider alternative solutions, and ultimately provide recommendations to the board about a proposed solution.
The committee, which will begin its work on October 8th and meet weekly each Wednesday at 6:30 p.m., will conclude its work on November 12th. It will then make a formal recommendation to the school board on the 19th. Any district resident interested in participating should please contact Melissa Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org or Karen Trimble at email@example.com by Monday, September 29, 2014.
Hands on History Day Held to Celebrate District’s 170th Anniversary
Swallow staff and community members held a Hands on History Day for all students on Thursday, September 18 to celebrate the district’s 170th anniversary. Students were welcomed to the day in an all school assembly where they heard about life in the 1800s from representatives of Old World Wisconsin. Then, each student moved through three different stations of their choosing and learned a little about history while getting to try their hand at doing something—from butter making to playing baseball from 1865 to learning different dances from different eras and practicing the use of stethoscopes. Pictures of this day in action can be found on the district’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/SwallowSchool.
This day would not have been possible without the support of dozens of parents and staff members, and the following businesses who donated time, passion, and take-aways for students:
· Home Depot-Delafield
· Ten Chimneys
· Empire Photography
· Hartland Music
· Old World Wisconsin
· Name that Card
· Boucher Cadillac
· Oconomowoc Landscape Supply and Garden Center
· WISN 12 News
· Lake Country Reporter
For more information about this event, please contact Superintendent Melissa Thompson at Thompson@swallowschool.org.
Swallow School and District Earn 88.0 and Significantly Exceeds Expectations Rating on 2013-2014 State Report Card
Today the Wisconsin DPI announced that Swallow School earned an 88.0 and rating of Significantly Exceeds Expectations for the 2013-2014 school year. The Swallow School District has earned the same score and rating and based on these measures, is the top performing school district in the state for the 2013-14 school year.
While numbers and data are only a part of the picture of school performance and there are many other factors not included in this report card which are critical to understanding school and district performance, they do tell a part of Swallow’s story. This recognition validates the exceptional work of our highly qualified teaching staff, dedicated students, and supportive school community under way at Swallow every day. The district is committed to celebrating this accomplishment and the continued work of personalizing learning for each student to ensure their highest performance and growth during their years at Swallow. To view Swallow School’s Report Card select this link.
Annually the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction releases School Report Cards measuring and reporting school effectiveness in four areas*. Each School Report Card calculates a school's accountability index score (0-100) through the use of a complex mathematical formula. Based upon this score, the school earns one of the five ratings: Significantly Exceeds Expectations, Exceeds Expectations, Meets Expectations, Meets Few Expectations and Fails to Meet Expectations. Beginning with the 2012-13 school year, District Report Cards also became available. Please follow the links below for additional information or contact Melissa Thompson, Superintendent, at Thompson@swallowschool.org.
DPI Press Release: http://dpi.wi.gov/files/eis/pdf/dpinr2014_97.pdf
DPI Report Card Site to view any public school’s report card: http://reportcards.dpi.wi.gov/
DPI Accountability Page for the context and changes to school accountability at the state level:
*Report Card accountability index scores are based on four criteria:
· Student Achievement in reading and math on state tests
· Student Growth as measured by year-to-year improvements in achievement
· Closing Gaps in performance between specific student groups (English Language Learners, low-income, students with disabilities, members of racial or ethnic group with their peers)
· On-tract/Postsecondary Readiness including graduation or attendance rates, reading and math achievement and ACT participation and performance
Swallow School District Named 2014-15 Wisconsin Title I School of Recognition
The Swallow School District has been named a 2014-15 Wisconsin Title I School of Recognition by the Wisconsin Department of Instruction as both a High-Achieving and High-Progress School, one of only eight schools in the state to earn both recognitions. To earn the specific distinctions as both a High-Achieving and High-Progress School, the following was achieved:
- meet all Annual Measurable Objectives for achievement
- have achievement gaps that are less than three (3) percentage points between student groups or show evidence of reducing gaps greater than three (3) percentage points
- demonstrate high achievement at the school level
- fall within the top 10 percent of schools experiencing student growth in reading and mathematics for elementary and middle school students
- have achievement gaps that are less than three (3) percentage points between student groups or show evidence of reducing gaps greater than three (3) percentage points
Additional criteria were met because Swallow students surpassed the required attendance and state test-participation rate thresholds for the prior school year and the district receives federal Title I aid.
District Superintendent Melissa Thompson commented, “This recognition validates our commitment and work to ensure each student at Swallow is growing both academically and as a person. Our teachers have worked collaboratively to develop a rigorous curriculum which is geared to what our students need and our community values. Our entire staff appreciates this recognition and its significance.”
For earning this award, Swallow will receive recognition at a reception and ceremony in Madison on Monday, October 13th, 2014, $500 for school-related purposes, and the opportunity for Swallow teachers to participate in a Teacher Fellowship program. Questions about this recognition can be directed to Melissa Thompson, Superintendent, at Thompson@swallowschool.org or on the DPI’s website at: http://news.dpi.wi.gov/files/eis/pdf/dpinr2014_91.pdf.
Welcome to the 2014-2015 School Year!
Welcome to the 2014-2015 school year! This year continues the 170th year for our school community and we are already off to a great start with two successful registration days and a phenomenal Open House and tailgate under our belts!
We look forward to the first day of school Tuesday, September 2. As a reminder, office hours are 7:30am-4:00pm and the front office can be reached either by calling 262-367-2000 x100 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Students may arrive at school beginning at 7:50am and the first bell rings at 8:05am with school starting at 8:10am. School dismisses at 3:15pm. We look forward to seeing you and your children here Tuesday!